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After months of Zoom performances, students celebrate return of the real thing

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 4:44 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 4:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The pandemic forced high school performing arts students to get creative with their shows.

Moanalua High School’s orchestra put together dozens of individual videos for their winter concert. Castle Performing Arts held a Zoom performance of “Charlotte’s Web.”

But the actors and musicians say the digital gatherings were not near as fulfilling as the real thing.

“The real reason you come to orchestra, at least for me, is to play with the people there,” said Juliana Tabura, a Moanalua High School senior.

Music director Elden Seta loathed the days when he tried to inspire the students through his camera.

“You could see it in their eyes,” Seta said. “You knew that there was so unhappy, unmotivated.”

But on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, they’ll be having their orchestra perform live at their new theater.

“More than the music, I love the people,” said junior Matt Terry.

“It’s just being able to play music and just have such a special group of people right next to you sitting next to you enjoying the music with you. It’s just a kind of like, there’s a synergy almost.”

Castle Performing Arts students had the same feeling when they were performing a Zoom version of Charlotte’s Web.

“It was very hard to learn dances and learn songs because you don’t make that personal connection that you get to when you’re in person,” said Cleo Hamm, a Castle Sophomore.

Hamm is excited to be in the first big musical Castle Performing Arts is having since the pandemic. She joins Emi Sampson, a Kalani High School sophomore who is playing Anastasia herself.

“I went through so many mental challenges,” Sampson said. “I had so many ups and downs with school, family members, friends. “I feel like I’m being reborn into theater.”

Anastasia the musical’s opening night is Nov. 26. The theater will be at 50% capacity and all ticketholders must be fully vaccinated.

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